Coke Zero Woos Millennials With The Sounds Of The Drink, And Not The Taste

Coke Zero, Ogilvy & Mather's new campaign with ESPN College GameDay and Shazam aimed at millennials is largely focused on how the drink sounds.

Last month Jamie Oliver, the well known British celebrity chef declared war on sugar with a documentary on Chanel 4. “I don’t mind a Coke on a beach, just don’t have it at home. Have it at the cinema, as a restaurant treat, but not in the home,” he said to the Mirror.

Hours later Coca-Cola launched a tactical ad push to highlight its range of low calorie and sugar free drinks. The drinks company ran ads in newspapers and on Twitter after Coke was featured in Oliver’s Sugar Rush, where it claimed that every member of a village in Mexico drank two liters of the drink a day. Coca-Cola used a full page advert to reel off a string of figures around how it’s working to reduce the amount of sugar free products, such as Coke Zero and Diet Coke.

Leaving aside the health problems that soda giants have created for years, fact is U.S. millennials increased energy drink consumption from 55 percent to 61 percent from 2014 to 2015, despite the fact that 74 percent of older millennials express concerns about product safety compared to 65 percent of consumers overall.

After Pepsi now it is Coca-Cola’s turn to target the millennials. According to Coca-Cola, 85 percent of millennials have not tried Coke Zero, but nearly 50 percent of those who try it go on to become monthly drinkers. So, the latest “drinkable” marketing campaign is aimed at getting the new age consumers to sample the product.

In a continuation of a campaign to try out zero-calorie drink, Coke Zero is no more promoting how it tastes, but is largely focusing on how the drink sounds. With college football kicking off, a new multichannel marketing campaign aimed at millennials has been launched in partnership with ESPN College GameDay and Shazam.

In the ad, created with Ogilvy & Mather, the GameDay cast walks viewers through how to use music-identification service Shazam to receive a free Coke Zero at 7-Eleven, Domino’s, QuikTrip and Speedway.


Coke Zero’s first-of-its-kind drinkable marketing campaign, “You Don’t Know Zero ‘Til You’ve Tried It,” is kicking off the third year of its partnership with ESPN College GameDay with Section Zero, the most coveted seat for the ultimate fan. At each campus ESPN College GameDay visit, Section Zero will treat 50 fans to premium seating and the chance to see ESPN College GameDay’s newest cast member, Rece Davis.

The integrated campaign is using multiple broadcast spots, traditional media, digital, out-of-home, retail, social media engagement and ESPN’s College Game Day Built by The Home Depot.

In addition to the recent commercial, three 30-second spots will feature a mix of Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack prepping for an ESPN College GameDay show. Three more 30 second spots feature Herbstreit, Howard and Corso describing their first time trying a Coke Zero, and the last four spots will pair imagery of Coke Zero product with sounds of the game.

The Twitter feed of the brand is all about the College Game Day madness, #sectionzero fan madness and the how satisfying an ice cold Coke Zero could be.

The Instagram account is hosting appealing visuals from the College Game Day.

It’s game time! Had a great time hanging with the Spartans today at @collegegameday in #sectionzero. A photo posted by Coca-Cola Zero (@cokezero) on

Earlier this year, for Coke Zero Ogilvy & Mather installed a “drinkable billboard” at the NCCA Men’s Final Four competition, that shot soda through a massive straw into a public drinking fountain. Coke Zero flows through 4,500 feet of straw to spell out “Taste It.” Then the liquid travels from the bottom of the billboard to a sampling area with six fountain spouts where people can taste the soda.


Along with TV spot, Coke used audio recognition, viewers who had downloaded and opened the Shazam mobile app while the spot aired unlocked extra content.

For its latest campaign the Coke-Shazam offering is on similar grounds, carrying forward the philosophy of trying out zero-calorie drink. However, the highlight of the campaign is on the sound and not the taste which could appeal to millennials who will have to earn to drink the soda. The brand is also excited about the multi channel execution of the campaign.

“An idea working across experiential, digital, social, PR and broadcast channels creates an intimate ‘trial’ experience at mass scale. We can no longer rely on broadcast to change perceptions—we need to use multi channel efforts to change behavior, ” said Ogilvy & Mather New York President Adam Tucker.

It’s changing behaviour the Coke way, even when diet sodas don’t do any good to your health.